When Sister Act came out in 1992, a generation of Jews who would never step foot in a church learned songs such as “Hail Holy Queen.” Church culture became cool, and before you knew it, kinderlach were requesting Sister Act at slumber parties. Now, when Sister Act arrives on Broadway next spring, a generation of young Jewish adults will relive their childhood explorations of church music.
For the uninitiated, Sister Act tels the tale of Deloris Van Cartier, originally played by the EGOT-winning Whoopi Goldberg. After witnessing her lover and manager take out a snitch, the night club songstress must get herself to the nunnery via police protection. And so Sister Mary Clarence is born. Hilarity ensues as she adjusts to the habit while bringing tight beats to the church choir and inspiring the community to wake up and pay attention (oops, that’s from Sister Act 2, the one starring one Lauryn Hill.)
Mor Rossler, 27, watches Sister Act whenever it is on the tube. The Monsey, New York, native who teaches at a Ramaz first saw the film in theaters and remembers vividly watching Sister Act 2 with her friends. “My family is musical and I love Gospel music, it’s just so soulful,” she said. “They’re so nice. I feel bad singing them so I just ignore the words.”
Lyle Rothman, a fourth year rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College, enjoys the Isaiah imagery of “Hail Holy Queen.” Rothman got down with the movie while spending a year living in Israel as part of his ordination. “I may have sung ‘Hail Holy Queen’ with rabbinical and cantorial students on a Galil tiyul [trip] sitting around a campfire,” recalled Rothman. “But we also sang ‘Moshiach, Moshiach, Moshiach.’”
Whoopi Goldberg Bringing ‘Sister Act’ Musical To Broadway [Black Voices]